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Black business owner fills beauty void in the Valley

Black consumers dominate the beauty industry, but Black ownership is lacking. Nikki Thompson is changing that.

Nikki Thompson is one of just a few Black beauty supply owners in the Valley. Her presence is dire in an industry lacking Black ownership. Her story is inspiring.

She is co-owner of Nu York West Beauty Supply in central Phoenix. She and two other partners opened the store three years ago, with hopes of being a store that can cater to all hair types.

For Thompson beauty isn’t just a business, it’s a passion. You can see it when she walks into the store. Her makeup is beautifully done and her hair is perfect.

“I just love the beauty industry…I love the different looks from makeup to hair to wigs,” says Thompson.

The store has products for all hair types, but they specialize in Black hair.

“They say our crown is our glory. Black women, we love our hair,” said Thompson.

Despite there not being many Black-owned beauty supply stores. Nielsen Research finds Black consumers buy nine times more beauty products than any other ethnic group, yet it is estimated they only make up about 1% of beauty store ownership.

As a veteran in the beauty industry, Thompson is filling that void.

“It just felt weird that actually going to a store that do sell a lot of black products, that there wasn’t any Black people or Black owners that could tell me about the products,” says Thompson.

Martha Howard is a natural hair stylist and owner of Marvelous U Styles in Chandler. She says she’s noticed the void in the Valley for decades.

“It’s important to have a supply house that’s inclusive for the Black stylists. I think the value is they’re servicing to a market that’s just like them,” said Howard.

Thompson says her customers tell her, “Thank you for being here.” Her presence is inspiring not only to customers, but the young women she hires.

“It makes me feel like I can achieve this dream as well,” said Thompson’s employee.

“This dream that I had to open this store came true and to be of service to people that just makes my day,” said Thompson.

Nikki’s goal here is to expand in Arizona and beyond. Right now she’s looking for franchisers to help her do that.

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